Thursday, July 2, 2015


Control is to RAD as syrup is to pancakes. If the child isn't controlling he probably doesn't have RAD. 

             Control comes in many forms: 

CRAZY LYING: The child has chocolate smeared across his face and there is a cupcake missing from the container. He obviously ate it, besides he is trying to surreptitiously push the empty paper under the cupboard with one bare foot. He will deny eating it and stick to that story as if his very life depended upon it. Sometimes when I found myself and Braden in such a situation, he would very nearly convince me he hadn't eaten the cupcake, even though the evidence was right before my eyes.

REFUSAL TO FOLLOW COMMANDS: Braden seldom did exactly as he was told. For instance, if he was supposed to put his shoes on, he might take his socks off and then put them on or he might put his sandals on instead. If we told him to fold the washcloths he would fold the hand towels. 

THRIVING ON CHAOS: a child who is diagnosed with RAD, most likely experienced a chaotic beginning in life. When the children were having a rough day, Braden was able to play calmly and stay on track. I mentioned this to his therapist because it made no sense to me. Miss L explained that because Braden's first home was chaotic, he felt safe in that environment. When we were having a good day, he would be sure to be causing strife in an attempt to create the chaotic environment he was used to. He was also controlling the "temperature" of our home.

REFUSAL TO EAT OR TALK: Sometimes Braden refused to eat. Once he told me he doesn't like eating the food I make. That made sense because by eating the food I made he was proving he needed me and that meant he wasn't in control. Other times he refused to talk. When someone will not talk, their silence becomes very loud!

SUPER NICE TO ANYONE OUTSIDE OF THE FAMILY. In "RAD speak" this is called indiscriminate affection with strangers. Braden might be refusing to talk to us but if someone stopped in unannounced he would turn into a chatterbox. This was his way of showing me he was in control.

SUPERFICIALLY CHARMING: Braden was an expert at charming people. He would look up at people and flash his shy, sweet smile and their hearts would melt. They would say something to the extent of "What a cutie you are!" Braden would soak it in but the moment they turned their back, he would either glare at me or give me a smirk. He was controlling people's reactions to him and hurting mom in the process which scored high in his book because he was terrified of bonding with me and giving me a chance to abandon him.

               Image result for control  reactive attachment disorder

The reason a child with RAD needs to be in control is simple:
  When a baby cries, his mom picks him up and cuddles him. If he is hungry she feeds him, if he is wet she changes him. She does whatever necessary to make her baby comfortable and happy. Baby learns that when mom comes, he feels better and pathways are created in his brain linking good things to mom/people.

When a baby cries and mom does not come, he becomes upset and screams hysterically. Eventually he learns that no one will help him, no one will comfort him, no one cares, or he may learn that when someone comes he feels pain. They may slap shake or yell at him. So he stops crying and the realization that he is on his own begins to sink in. At this point he is surviving much like an animal, he takes what he can get and by whatever means it takes. As he grows he becomes quite adept at caring for himself, he doesn't need an adult to care for him. He is surviving but at a great cost.

Then the little boy comes into a home where the mom wants to love and nurture him. He is terrified! When he was just a small baby he opened his heart to a mom and she caused him pain. He instinctively knows she did not do her job of caring for him and he resents her and all other caregivers because of that. In order to "take care of himself" he needs to control EVERYTHING. Nothing is to small. He controls when the family eats, when they sleep, where they go, who their friends are and has the ability to ensure the home is anything but peaceful. 

      I share these posts not to make Braden look bad because he was only trying to protect himself. This was a problem though because the only way to protect himself was to build a wall around his heart and keep everyone out. RAD doesn't go away when the child is old enough to reason and think through a situation. This is the way he will go through life not submitting to anyone or anything which obviously will not work.

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